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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday once again slammed the ruling-BJD for lack of budgetary provision for the recently-announced Gangadhar Meher Lift Canal System project in the supplementary budget placed in the Assembly.

The members of the BJP's Kishan Morcha today staged demonstration in front of the Gangadhar Meher's statue at NALCO Chhak in the Capital city alleging that the announcement of the Bijepur lift system project was a mere election gimmick to win votes.

The BJP also alleged that the BJD has done no developmental work in the Bijepur Constituency in its 17-year rule. With the ensuing bypoll in the region, the government announced the project, that too in the name of a renowned poet whose birth place is Barpali town in the constituency, with the sole ill intention to divert the attention of locals from the real issues plaguing the region.

"BJD announced the lift canal system project at a cost of Rs 1,250 crore in the name of Swabhaba kabi Gangadhar Meher and spent crores of money on advertisement of the project. However, there was no mention of the project in the supplementary budget," said vice-president of BJP, Sameer Mohanty.

"Why did the ruling party hastily announce the project?" questioned Mohanty.

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Refuting the allegations, the BJD said that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has already informed the Assembly that in the Annual Budget of 2017-18, an amount of Rs 1.50 crore has been allocated under pre-project activities of pipeline projects including Bijepur Lift Irrigation Project, which is one of the 58 projects.

The Government has already created a working division at Bijepur with one Executive Engineer, three Assistant Executive Engineers, six Junior Engineers and other support staff to look after this project, the BJD said.

The project is expected to irrigate about 32,000 hectares, including 25,600 hectares in Kharif and 7,000 hectares in Rabi season through underground pipeline-based irrigation distribution system.

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